John Danforth Nutting
Publications (Ohio, early 1900s)

  • Light on Mormonism (1922-38)
        Jan '27  Apr '27   Jan '28
        Jul '29  Jul '30   Apr '31

  • Nutting's Pamphlets & Articles

  • Transcriber's Comments

  • J. D. Nutting Papers   |   Christian Standard   |   Bays' 1897 Doctrines & Dogmas...
    Shook's 1914 True Origin of Book of Mormon   |   1900s R. B. Neal publications


    Vol. V. No. 4.                            Cleveland,  Ohio.  Jan.-Mar., 1927                            Whole No. 20.

    [p. 159]


    We have had the cut below made from the last page of the first edition of the Book of Mormon in order that every one may see what the book said about itself before this portion was changed to its present and untrue form. The "Testimony of the Eight Witnesses" is greatly relied on by Mormonism to substantiate its claim that the Book of Mormon, in which the statement occurs, is really a revelation from God. But it tells quite the opposite when one studies it a little. Note its statement that Joseph Smith was the "Author and Proprietor," near the top. But the book claims to be from God; hence Smith could not be "Author," and still less could he be the "Proprietor" or owner!

    (Photo-engraving from First Edition of
    Book of Mormon, last page.)

    The evident untruth of this statement is acknowledged in the next edition, printed in Kirtland, and in all editions since then; for the words "Author and Proprietor" are taken out of this sworn testimony, and "Translator" put in their place!

    But what must we think of one who will change the sworn testimony of witnesses to suit himself? Is it an honest or truthful thing to do? Is it not making the witnesses swear to what they did not swear to? Is it not thus a falsehood of the most serious kind? And does a real prophet of God do such things? Yet this was done under the direct supervision of Joseph Smith, in Kirtland, in 1837. The sworn statement was given about June, 1829. Even if all the signers were living and had consented to such change it would still have been a falsity, for such was not the testimony given, and sworn to in its concluding words. We know of no reason for the change except to avoid the plain contradiction between the statement and the claim that the book was from God. There was some truth in the claim of being "Author and Proprietor" however; as Smith and Rigdon were together the ones who concocted the book in its present form out of the Spaulding story. But for the claim of "Translator" which succeeded this on the title page there is no basis at all; there is no proof whatever that there ever were any "plates" to translate, and the claims for such are best refuted by the claims themselves...

    Notes: (forthcoming)


    Vol. VI. No. 1.                            Cleveland,  Ohio.  Apr.-June, 1927                            Whole No. 21.

    [p. 165]


    After necessary delays this tract is now in stock and ready for use. It has considerably more matter than in the LIGHT articles, besides a very neat title cover page. Every Mormon, whether of the eastern or western kind, ought to have it; and every prospective convert also. We expect to use them largely in the West, and wish every friend would get some for use everywhere else. If Cowdery, inside man of the scheme from the beginning, must leave it, surely there can be no reason for others failing to do so.   16 pages, price 5c

    Notes: (forthcoming)


    Vol. VI. No. 4.                            Cleveland,  Ohio.  Jan.-Mar., 1928                            Whole No. 24.

    [p. 185]


    A Western religious paper which does not always speak wisely on Mormonism, reprints a statement by a college president saying that the Bible is now used more and the Book of Mormon less than years ago. There is just enough of fact behind the first half of the statement to make Mormonism take notice, it may be and work harder against such changes as we all would like to in that line. At any rate, there has never been, in our thirty-five years of experience with Mormonism, any such amount of matter in the Mormon press on the Book of Mormon, as has been printed during the last year or so! And the most of it consists of reports of addresses, many given over the radios belonging to Mormonism, both Utah and Josephite. The material is just the same old stuff that has been heard for ten decades or so, and answered completely in every decade and probably every year or month from almost the beginning! But those who believe in the book do not hear the replies, and so the delusion goes on, and on -- as yet. We never find anything new in such arguments, though we scan them somewhat well. Constant reiteration of even untruths makes people believe them firmly, though there be no shred of fact behind them. If every friend of truth would send LIGHT to those whom they know as Mormons, that would help; likewise several of our tracts. It is a pity for people to go on believing such things, and thus detracting from their estimate and use of the Bible; and its effects on character cannot but be bad. Hence we issie the following:


    We challenge any one to bring any proof, such as would stand legal scrutiny in court on other matters, on these points:

    1. That the Book of Mormon is in any sense divine, save as to the parts taken from the Bible without change.

    2. That the Book of Mormon ever existed, in any form or place, before the time of Joseph Smith: this not referring to quoted parts, or to the writings of Solomon Spaulding, but to substantially the present book.

    3. That the common Mormon story of its origin has any basis in fact whatever. This includes the story of the two "visions," the finding or existence of any "plates," and their professed "translation."

    4. That there is any truth in the claim that the book "proves the Bible," "is foretold in the Bible," or adds the least proof "to the convincing of Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ," (this last statement claims to be the words of God), or that it reveals even one new religious truth.

    Notes: (forthcoming)


    Vol. VIII. No. 2.                            Cleveland,  Ohio.  July-Sept., 1929                            Whole No. 30.

    [p. 238]


    Personally we have never cared much what the source of the Book of Mormon was. Itself condemns itself to any judge of literature and truth as not possibly more than a very human and faulty production. But as so much is made by Mormons of this matter, and the facts are so often ridiculed as "exploded and believed by no one," it may be well to give the following extracts from one of the ablest presentations of the facts, entitled "The Origin of the Book of Mormon." This book was prepared by A. T. Schroeder, a lawyer of Salt Lake City, and published by the Salt Lake Ministerial Association many years ago, and has been out of print for some time. It deserves reprinting and a wide circulation.

    From the closing summary of the facts in this book we quote the following:

    "Solomon Spaulding, between 1812 and 1816, outlined and then re-wrote a novel, attempting therein to account for the American Indian by Israelitish origin. The first outline of this story, now at Oberlin College, had no direct connection with the Book of Mormon, and was never claimed to be connected with it, and such connection was expressly disclaimed as early as 1834. The rewritten story, entitled "Manuscript Found," was by Spaulding twice left with a publisher, whence it was stolen under circumstances which then led Spaulding to suspect Sidney Rigdon, who long after was the first conspicuous convert of Mormonism; that Rigdon, through his great intimacy with the publishers' employees, had opportunity to steal it, and that after Spaulding's death, and years before the advent of Mormonism, Rigdon had in his possession such a manuscript and exhibited it, with the statement that it was Spaulding's. Through Parley P. Pratt, Rigdon and Smith were brought into relation, and the latter made the Prophet of the 'Dispensation of the Fullness of Times,' the discoverer, translator, and, according to his own designation, the 'Author and Proprietor' of the Book of Mormon. This connection is established by the most convincing circumstantial evidence, taken wholly from authorized Mormon publications; it is shown that Rigdon foreknew the coming and in a general way the contents of the Book of Mormon; that both Rigdon and Pratt were, according to some of their contradictory accounts, converted to Mormonism with such miraculous suddenness and without substantial investigation that [when] this, coupled with the contradictory accounts of these important events and their attempts at concealing the suddenness of their conversion, all compel a conviction of their participation in a scheme of religious fraud.

    Upon the question of plagiarism, we may profitably add a brief summary of the points of identity between the peculiar features shown to be common to Spaulding's novel and the Book of Mormon. In Spaulding's first outline of the story it pretended to be ancient African [sic - American?] history, attempting to explain the origin of part of the [inhabitants] of this continent, all translated from ancient writings found in a stone box. It recounts the wars of extermination of two factions, tells of the collecting of armies and of slaughters which were a physical impossibility to those uncivilized people who were without any modern methods of [warfare,] transporting troops or army supplies. After two revisions, one by Spaulding and [a] second by Smith, Rigdon & Co., the above general outline still describes equally well the Book of Mormon.

    Leaving the first blocking-out of his novel unfinished, Spaulding resolved to change his plot by dating the story farther back and by attempting to imitate the Old Scripture style, so as to make it seem more ancient. Spaulding's determination to date his novel farther back probably suggested changing the roll of parchment which, according to the Oberlin manuscript was found in a stone box, to golden plates. Some time before 1820 some one pretended to have found a golden Bible in Canada. If Spaulding, in rewriting the story, did not make the change, this incident may have suggested such a change to Smith and his fellow-frauds.

    Spaulding, in his attempt at imitating Bible phraseology, had repeated so ridiculously often the words "it came to pass," that both in Ohio and Pennsylvania the neighbors to whom he read his manuscript nicknamed him "Old Come-to-pass." In the Book of Mormon, though professedly an Abridgement, the same phrase is uselessly repeated several thousands times [this is too large -- we believe the number is less than 1500] and a bungling effort at imitating the style of Bible writers is apparent all through it.

    Spaulding's existence was contemporaneous with Anti-Masonic riots, and he harbored a sentiment against all secret societies, which has also been carried through into the Book of Mormon.

    The uncontradicted and unimpeached evidence of many witnesses is explicit that the historical portions of both the 'Manuscript Found' and the 'Book of Mormon' are the same, and much of the religious matter interpolated is in the exact phraseology of King James translation of the Bible. We find also many names of places, persons, and tribes to be identical in the 'Manuscript Found' and the Book of Mormon. Some of the names were taken from the Bible, others would be known only to the students of American antiquities, among whom was Spaulding, and still others were unheard of until coined by Spaulding. The names proven to be common to both are Nephi, Lehi, Mormon, Nephites, Lamanites, Laban, Zarahemla and Amlicites.

    Add to this the very novel circumstance that in both accounts one of two contending armies placed upon the forehead of its soldiers a red mark that they might distinguish friends from enemies, and the new and characteristic features common to both are too numerous to admit of any explanation except that herein contended for, viz: That the Book of Mormon is a plagiarism from Spaulding's novel, the 'Manuscript Found,' and is the product of conscious fraud on the part of Sidney Rigdon, Parley Parker Pratt, Joseph Smith, and others, which fraud was prompted wholly by a love of notoriety and money."

    Notes: (forthcoming)


    Vol. IX. No. 2.                            Cleveland,  Ohio.  July-Sept., 1930                            Whole No. 34.

    [p. 265]


    Many years ago President James H. Fairchild, of Oberlin College and Seminary, discovered a manuscript in the library of an old friend from Ohio, which bore evidence of being by Solomon Spaulding, reputed author of the manuscript from which the Book of Mormon was made. In an early statement, made without getting at some important facts, Pres. Fairchild said that some other theory would have to be found as to the origin of the Book of Mormon, because the manuscript found was plainly not the same, but differed in important points. Mormonism made the most of his statement, of course, as overthrowing the Spaulding theory. In about 1919 [sic - 1900?] the writer visited Pres. Fairchild, his former teacher, at his home in Oberlin; and mentioned that Mormonism was using his statement in this way. Knowing beyond question the falsity of the Book of Mormon, he was greatly distressed; and after some conversation about the matter he asked us that, as his eyesight was very poor, we would write out a short statement, which he would sign. We gladly did so; our statement suited his ideas and he signed it as follows:

    "With regard to the manuscript of Mr. Spaulding now in the Library of Oberlin College, I have never stated, and know of no one who can state, that it is the only manuscript which Spaulding wrote, or that it is [certainly] the one which has been supposed to be the original of the Book of Mormon. The discovery of this manuscript does not prove that there may not have been another, which became the basis of the Book of Mormon. The use which has been made of statements emanating from me [as] implying the contrary of the above is entirely unwarranted."

    This statement was before long published in a pamphlet issued by the Salt Lake Ministerial Association, written by A. T. Schroeder, Esq., copyrighted 1901; and has been otherwise issued. Yet Mormonism always gives the original Fairchild statement, without a hint of the later and most important utterance, which entirely upsets it! Such has been the Mormon policy in multitudes of things, from early days, though entirely unfair and misleading.

    For the benefit of readers who are not informed on this point, it should be added that the morally certain fact about the origin of the Book of Mormon is that it was originally a novel written by a retired minister who had moved out to Conneaut, Ohio, and who wrote several such volumes dealing with early American history. That one of these which grew into the Book of Mormon was taken to a printing office in Pittsburgh, where Joseph Smith, the chief originator of Mormonism, and Sidney Rigdon, a friend, sometimes went in spare time. This manuscript disappeared, and after considerable time the Book of Mormon came out, shocking Mrs. Spaulding and other friends by its essential identity, with the original copy. Mormonism always denies these facts, of course, and refers always to such statements as the "oft-exploded theory" of the matter. But we believe many a man has been hung rightly on far less evidence than exists for these facts. Smith and Rigdon evidently made considerable additions; largely more or less altered the genuine quotations from the King James Bible; but we do not doubt that Spaulding was the writer of the original book.

    It should always be remembered, however, that the origin of the book is of very small importance, and has little or no bearing on the real question, as which is whether the book is really a revelation from God. And any tyro of evidence can easily see that it CANNOT POSSIBLY be of more than human character, and of very poor kind at that, except where multitudes of verses have been quoted, bodily or with slight changes, from the King James Version of the Bible. And these quotations are themselves strong evidence that it cannot possibly be what it claims to be; for there was no such book as the King James Bible before 1611, while the professed "gold plates" from which the Book of Mormon is professed to have been translated by Smith, are said to have been made about 600 years before Christ, or 2211 years earlier! And no two translators could possibly get exactly the same wordings from even the same passages, if there had been any translating done, which there was not! Here is a gap of over 2200 years between the actual facts, which no amount of effort by Mormonism can possibly bridge! And the wording and other literary characters of the book, as well as its radically contradicting doctrines, make it wholly impossible for us to believe it was ever coming from God! The question of its authorship is quite insignificant besides these and other like facts about the book. WHY should men believe it longer when such are the really true facts which must decide its character and history WHY not stay wholly by the Bible, which is proven by every test to be the only genuine revelation from God?

    Note 1: Rev. John D. Nutting graduated from Oberlin Theological Seminary in 1885. Following a tour of church in Utah, Nutting returned to Ohio late in 1898 or early in 1899. James H. Fairchild died in 1902. Therefore, the most logical reconstruction of events would have Nutting visiting the aged Fairchild in Ohio, and telling his old professor about how "Mormonism was using his statement," c. 1899-1900. Probably the "1919" given in the above account is a printer's error, and should read either "1899" or "1900." As Nutting points out, he text of Fairchild's statement was published by A. T. Schroeder, in 1901, while Fairchild was yet living. This mention of "1901" by Nutting shows that his previous "1919" cannot possibly be the date he intended to print. Other than the two bracketed words, "certainly" and "as" -- which only Schroeder published -- the two texts are identical.

    Note 2: Rev. Nutting presents a straightforward rendition of the Spalding-Rigdon explanation for Book of Mormon origins, leaving out only the religious similarities the book's contents bore to Rigdon's own version of Campbellite Christian primitivism. Nutting's placement of a young Joseph Smith, Jr. in "a printing office in Pittsburgh" during the late 1810s or early 1820s is an unbelievable scenerio. Where he came up with such an odd notion is not known.


    Vol. X. No. 1.                            Cleveland,  Ohio.  Apr.-June, 1931                            Whole No. 34.

    [p. 294]


    The noted cartoonist Donahey recently visited Kirtland, and his next Plain Dealer picture presented nearly every argument used for Josephiteism. If these are taken merely as what this sect of Mormon says there, all right; but if as facts, a serious perversion of history is accepted. We believe that there is hardly more doubt that Joseph Smith practiced polygamy, even before he professed any "revelation" supporting it, than there is that we are writing these words now. If any believer in the Kirtland branch of Mormonism doubts this. let him turn to its own official history, Tullidge's "Life of Joseph the Prophet," page 755, and read that at their Conference, Oct., 1881, "A confession of belief and practice of polygamy was made." William Smith, the President of this Conference, and we believe a brother of Joseph, was a polygamist. There are many other proofs; among them that a family relative in Kirtland, who accompanied Smith through all his Missouri and Nauvoo history, had several extra families before going to Utah, one member of extra families before going to Utah, one member of his right family being known to us later.

    But that is back history. Josephitism now repudiates this "twin relic of barbarism" heartily, but still believes in most other things held by Utah Mormonism, and ought not to repudiate that sect, or they it; as both do now!

    Josephitism seems to have stopped its emphasis on "stewardship," which means a sort of community of property, for the present; and its periodicals have better articles than formerly, some closely approaching the Biblical view. Both kinds have financial difficulties; the eastern kind has a "sacrifice week" yearly, in which extra gifts beyond tithing are solicited and given. Both kinds hold, of course, to Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, and to later books as revelations; and Josephitism issues and recommends the vicious "Inspired ATranslation" of the Bible, which is quite possibly a worse sin than polygamy was....

    Notes: (forthcoming)


    John Danforth Nutting
    Pamphlets and Articles

  • "Mormonism To-day" (1913)

  • Bibliography

  • Transcriber's Comments


    "Mormonism To-day"

    (under construction)


    Rev. John D. Nutting Bibliography

    Articles of Faith of the "Latter-Day Saints"
    NYC: League of Social Service, [1899?]

    What Congress can do about Roberts, Mormon Mendacity
    [no publication data, printed c. 1899]

    Some Extracts from Secret oaths & ceremonies of the Mormon Church
    [no publication data, printed c. 1899]

    The Truth About the Origin of the Book of Mormon.
    San Bernardino: Harry A. McGimsey; [1900]

    The New Effort in Behalf of Utah
    Cleveland, OH: Utah Gospel Mission; [1900]

    The Private Doctrines of Mormon theology
    Cleveland, OH: Utah Gospel Mission; [1900]

    The True Mormon Doctrine
    Cleveland, OH: Utah Gospel Mission; 1901

    Greater Points of Christian Truth... by... student of... Mormonism
    Cleveland, OH: Utah Gospel Mission; 1901

    A Journey Among the Mormons
    Cleveland, OH: Utah Gospel Mission; [1901]

    Mormonism Proclaiming Itself a Fraud
    Cleveland, OH: Utah Gospel Mission; [1901]

    Main Facts Regarding the Growth and Power of Mormonism
    Cleveland, OH: Utah Gospel Mission; [1902]

    The Story of a Mormon Convert
    Cleveland, OH: Utah Gospel Mission; 1903

    Present Day Mormonism and its Remedy
    Cleveland, OH: Utah Gospel Mission; 1904

    Religious Destitution in a "Christian Country"
    Cleveland, OH: Utah Gospel Mission; [1907]

    The Wonderful Story of the Wonderful Book
    Cleveland: Utah Gospel Mission series, no. 04; 1908

    Why I could Never be a Mormon
    Cleveland, OH: Utah Gospel Mission; 1911

    The Private Doctrines of Mormon Theology
    Cleveland: Utah Gospel Mission; 1912

    The Secret oaths and Ceremonies of Mormonism
    Cleveland, OH: Utah Gospel Mission; [1912]

    Incidents and Anecdotes Illustrating Mormonism
    Cleveland, OH: Utah Gospel Mission; [1912? rep 1915]

    Mormonism To-Day and Its Remedy
    Cleveland, OH: Utah Gospel Mission; 1913

    The Real Doctrines of Mormonism
    Cleveland, OH: Utah Gospel Mission; 1921

    The Real Doctrines of Mormonism
    Cleveland, OH: Utah Gospel Mission; 1921

    The Guard's Great Question
    Cleveland: Utah Gospel Mission; [pre-1922]

    The Truth About God
    Cleveland: Utah Gospel Mission; [pre-1922]

    Mormon Doctrine and Christian Truth
    Cleveland: Utah Gospel Mission; [pre-1922]

    Thoughts About Heaven
    Cleveland: Utah Gospel Mission; [pre-1922]

    Special Difficulties of Christian Work Among Mormons
    Cleveland, OH: Utah Gospel Mission; [pre-1922]

    Josephite or "Reorganized" Mormonism
    Cleveland: Utah Gospel Mission; [pre-1922]

    The Fraud of the "Inspired Translation"
    Cleveland, OH: Utah Gospel Mission; [pre-1922]

    Mormon Twistings of the Bible
    Cleveland, OH: Utah Gospel Mission; [pre-1922]

    Reorganized or Josephite Mormonism, Carefully Considered
    Cleveland, OH: Utah Gospel Mission; 1922

    Paul's Method of Dealing with False Religionists
    Cleveland, OH: Utah Gospel Mission; [1927?]

    Teachings of Mormonism and Christianity Compared
    Cleveland: Utah Gospel Mission series, no. 10; [1928? rep 1931]

    The Road to Glory-Land
    Cleveland: Utah Gospel Mission series, no. 11 [1929? rep 1931]

    Why Care about Mormonism?
    Cleveland, OH: Utah Gospel Mission; [1931]

    What We do in the West
    Cleveland, OH: Utah Gospel Mission; [1931]

    Oliver Cowdery's Renunciation of Mormonism
    Cleveland, OH: Utah Gospel Mission; [pre-1932]

    Mormon Morals
    Cleveland, OH: Utah Gospel Mission; [pre-1932]

    The Truth About God
    Cleveland, OH: Utah Gospel Mission; [pre-1932]

    Who First Acknowledged Polygamy?
    Cleveland, OH: Utah Gospel Mission; [pre-1932]

    The Mormon's Mistake
    Cleveland, OH: Utah Gospel Mission; [pre-1932]

    How to Meet the Mormon Need and Danger
    Cleveland, OH: Utah Gospel Mission; [1937?]

    Eight Reasons why no one should be a Mormon
    Cleveland, OH: Utah Gospel Mission; [1939?]

    If not Much, then a Little!
    Cleveland, OH: Utah Gospel Mission; [1940?]

    Cleveland, OH: Utah Gospel Mission; 1940

    Some Soul-stirring Reasons for Knowing... Mormon Issue
    Cleveland, OH: Utah Gospel Mission; 1943

    Contradictions in Mormon Books and Doctrines
    Cleveland, OH: Utah Gospel Mission; [1934? rep 1942]


    "The Mormons: A reply. To the editors of the Outlook"
    in: The Outlook
    v. 64, February 24, 1900, p. 467-470

    "A Study of the Present Mormon Problems"
    in: The Independent
    v. 54, April 17, 1902, p. 924-930

    "Awheel and Afoot in Mormondom..."
    in The Home Missionary
    vol. 74, no. 2, May 1905, p. 37-45

    "Difficulties of Work Among the Mormons"
    in: Missionary Review of the World
    Vol. 26, 1903, p. 855-858


    Transcriber's Comments

    Rev. John D. Nutting's Publications

    Nutting, John Danforth; clergyman; born at Randolph, Vt., March 8, 1854; son of Rufus and Sarah H. Nutting; A. B., Wheaton (III.) College, 1878, A. M., 1881; graduate, Oberlin Theological Seminary, 1885; married, Nannie Keith Miller, of Oberlin (class 1883), June 23, 1885 (died, 1886); 2d, Lillis R. Morley, of Mentor, O., (Ohio, 1887), Jan. 1, 1890; ordained ministry in. Congregational Church, 1885; pastor, Wauseon, O., 1885-1888; Newport, Ky., 1888-1890; St. Louis, 1890-1892; Salt Lake City, 1892-1898; sec'y Utah Gospel Mission for special work in behalf of the Mormon people and against the Mormon system, since 1898; writer and lecturer on Mormonism and kindred subjects.

    The Book of Clevelanders, A Biographical Dictionary of Living Men of the City of Cleveland, Burrows Book Company, 1914

    (under construction)

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